Betsy James grew up in the desert West, with a geologist father and zoologist mother. For years, she has hiked through the New Mexico wilderness, observing the spare, light-filled landscape. She paints from memory. “For me these paintings are icons of a world that will outlast us,” James writes. “Maybe they’re secular prayers—ways into a world we forget we belong to, that we are as much a part of as windblown grass and desert mice.”
James paints with watercolor and gouache, working in a restricted format. Her paintings consist of many layers, repeatedly exploring particular images: rain, roads, arroyos, pueblos. Each painting is developed over weeks, months, even years, offering a glimpse into an enchanting, multilayered world.